Sleepy Shotley Peninsula
This 24 mile circuit takes you right round the Shotley peninsula, offering a tremendous variety of landscapes. Most of the peninsula is very rural, with some lovely estuary views to the north and south sides. But the tip of the peninsula offers a striking contrast, with panoramic views of the hustle and bustle of Felixstowe and Harwich ports. Best cycled as a clockwise loop.
Near the start and the end of the route, the B1456 road is used. This can be quite a fast and busy road. The track downhill to Shotley Marina can be quite lumpy and muddy, so take it gently. North of Alton Water, the route uses the fast A137 for about 500m - take particular care joining and leaving this major road.
The riverside Butt & Oyster pub offers an excellent refreshment stop at the start or end of your ride.
On the route itself, the main refreshment opportunities are:
Shotley Gate: The Shipwreck; Bristol Arms.
Harkstead: The Bakers Arms.
Holbrook: The Compasses pub (on route); Co-op store (just off route).
Tattingstone White Horse: White Horse pub.
Points of Interest
Great views of this popular boating estuary from Pin Mill and then from winding Wade's Lane.
Intriguing contrast between the pleasure craft in the Marina and the massive container ships at Felixstowe Container Port on the other side of the estuary!
Erwarton Hall was a frequent childhood haunt of Anne Boleyn. The Hall features a particularly splendid Gatehouse. Just beyond the Hall you reach the Church, which reputedly holds the heart of Anne Boleyn in a heart shaped casket buried beneath the church organ. A plaque in the church explains some of the story behind this...
The Stour estuary is a beautiful peaceful place once you move a mile or so upstream form the hubbub at Felixstowe and Harwich ports. It's also a great place for birdwatching, particularly at low tide when the mudflats are exposed.
The reservoir is a favourite with sailors and birdwatchers, and features a pretty 8 mile long trail right round its partly wooded perimeter.
The Tattingstone Wonder, close to Alton Water, is a quirky architectural folly that disguises a three cottage terrace as a church by the addition of a fake tower and flint facade.
Pin Mill is a delightful riverside hamlet on the shore of the Stour estuary. It was once a repair centre for Thames Sailing Barges, and it still retains a strong maritime character thanks to the boatyards and houseboats scattered along the shoreline. It is also home to the delightful Butt & Oyster pub right on the estuary shore.